Juventus bring back Morata

Juventus’ lengthy search for a new centre-forward came to an end on Tuesday as they announced the acquisition of Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid, who returns in Turin five years after his first stint at the club. Morata spent two seasons with the Bianconeri between 2014 and 2015, scoring 27 goals in 93 appearances, including one in Berlin’s Champions League final, and left because Real Madrid activated the buy-back clause that was included in the original deal.

The 27-year-old Spaniard never truly flourished in the following campaigns: after a year with the Galacticos, he transferred to the Antonio Conte-led Chelsea, scoring 24 goals in 72 matches in 18 months before heading back to La Liga, at Atletico Madrid this time. With the Colchoneros, he tallied 22 goals and five assists in 61 matches, as his role decreased in the second half of last season.

Morata joins on a convoluted formula, as Juventus will pay €10M for the initial season-long loan and €10M more if they want to extend it, with a €45M option to buy in 2021 or €35M in 2022. The total package is worth €55M, one fewer than what Atleti paid to redeem him from Chelsea in July after spending €7M for the loan in January of 2019.

Juventus have been looking for a new striker for the entirety of the window, as they had quickly chose to move on from Gonzalo Higuain, who joined Inter Miami for free. They initially pursued Luis Suarez but, despite agreeing to terms with the player, they gave up the chase when they realized that he would not get the Italian passport in time. Italian teams can sign only two extra-EU players per year and the Old Lady added Arthur and Weston McKennie to fill the spots before the opportunity to get the Blaugrana ace materialized.

The Bianconeri then wrapped up a deal with Roma for Edin Dzeko, but the Giallorossi wanted to sign Arkadiusz Milik first before letting him go. While the parallel deals seemed headed in the right direction late last week, to the point that the Bosnian forward did not play against Verona, the negotiation between Napoli, Roma and Milik hit an impasse over some outstanding matters between the Polish attacker and the Partenopei and the final formula of the transfer between the two clubs.

On Monday, Juventus decided to wait no more and quickly reached agreement with Atletico Madrid and the player. The Bianconeri were undermanned offensively versus Sampdoria, where Dejan Kulusevki adapted and played as second-striker and wanted to have one more offensive option ahead of Sunday’s clash against Roma.

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